The Impossible Temptation

I’d just finished pouring over Hebrews 4:15.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Then this question from Jen Wilkin…

“What temptation are you currently battling that you want to believe is unique to you and impossible to resist?”

Easy.

It’s pushing and pushing and going and going and never (EVER) resting.

But if Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are” then surely He faced this. Right? Surely He saw the crowds and had the urge to ignore exhaustion and keep healing. Keep fixing. Keep doing. Right?

But He didn’t.

“But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. BUT he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” (Luke 5:15,16)

You guys…Jesus rested.

Today. Whether your schedule looks like a walk in the park or a run in the circus, REST.

We have a Savior who rested. A Savior who isn’t disappointed when we say no. Or log out. Or mark that item off the calendar because it’s JUST TOO MUCH.

Let’s stop striving so hard. Pushing so hard. Trying to earn something that was bought on the cross.

Let’s “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. “ (Hebrews 4:16)

“I’m TRYING”

Every morning this week Alexa’s woke me up at 5:30 from her purposefully placed location in the bathroom.

This morning, with eyes still closed, I responded audibly with “I’m TRYING.”

Because those 2 words characterize my whole existence.

Trying to be a good wife.

Trying to be a good Mom.

Trying to be a good friend.

And this trying is “trying” me. Stealing my joy. Causing me to lash out at the kids. Making me fall into bed every night exhausted.

My journal ended this morning with these words…

“Father, help me to stop trying. To start resting. To ‘be still and know that You are God’.”

All trying stops at the foot of the cross. With the words, “It is FINISHED.”

Because grace has won. We can rest.

And today, that’s what I’ll do.

“Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do. Let go of trying to control. Let go of my own way. Let go of my own fears. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper a surprised thanks.” (Ann Voskamp)

For the girls…

It’s true. I got behind in our family’s Bible reading plan almost immediately.

Jeremy and the boys are soaring through Mark and I’m fiddling around with chapter 15.

So I sat down yesterday to dive in. To catch up.

“There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.” (Mark 15:40,41)

If the Bible’s Facebook, these ladies just got tagged.

And I hear Martina McBride’s “This one’s for the girls” playing in the background of Mark’s Instastory.

These women had been with Jesus. They’d walked that long (LONG) journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. They’d ministered to him as He ministered.

They were the last at the cross. The first at the tomb.

They were Moms. They were followers. They were His.

Ladies…”This one’s for the girls.”

You. Your little girls. Your grown ones. The little girls you dream of raising.

God has a place for each of us.

At home. At work. At church. At school.

In our neighborhoods. Grocery stories. Living rooms.

Wherever He is leading you, be all there. Wherever He is leading them, trust His plan.

Cross grace offers future grace for all of us.

When you love God (and Disney)…

I’m a minimalist. We budget. Save. Look over Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps at least once a year.

I’m married to a “giver.” We’re committed to the Summit, Compassion, and church planters around the world.

But I’m also a Disney fan. And that’s not cheap.

So in this perfect triangle of crazy, my life joins together.

Give to the Kingdom. Save for the future. Make memories at Disney.

I’m not sure how it all happened. How it all works. But it does.

I’m often inclined toward guilt. We shouldn’t spend that. People are suffering.

Sweet gifts from God can feel like burdens while they’re actually intended to cause rejoicing.

It’s a balance we seek. Long for. Try to teach our kids.

God loves us like a Father. And Fathers give their children good things to enjoy.

What kind of God would our kids grow up knowing if we never point out the good? If we always talk about what He’s wanting from us and not giving to us? Why would anyone serve someone like that?

Please hear me in total, not pieces. The Gospel is worth sacrificing for. It’s worth moving across the world for. It’s worth, well, everything.

But I won’t let myself believe the lie that to sacrifice means never to enjoy. That it means not to embrace the grace that God has planned for us.

So friends, we’re gonna take Disney trips over here. We’re gonna be a family and laugh and eat and be thankful for God’s goodness to us.

And we’re also gonna take missions trips. And serve and love and be thankful for how God is moving around the world.

Because our hope isn’t based on our savings account. It’s not based on our budget. It’s solely based on the love of our Father, “who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” (I Timothy 6:17)

 

“Christmas Adam” (and other favorite traditions)

We have a new (non-stressful) Christmas tradition.

…CHRISTMAS ADAM…

A few years ago Caleb suggested we add a new day of celebration to our Christmas countdown.

“We celebrate Christmas Eve. What about Christmas Adam?”

And that’s how it began.

On December 23, the excitement ramps up. It’s Christmas Adam for our family. Everyone gets a small gift. We all eat dessert.

It’s nothing fancy. Mainly silly. But another fun way to celebrate the season.

We’ve actually cut out some traditions this year. The one Advent book got re-packed. The other Advent calendar got forgotten. We returned a Christmas book to the library that I knew we’d never finish.

Yes, we still use our favorite Advent calendar. Each day we get a verse to read, story from the The Jesus Storybook Bible, a fun activity, and a giving activity.

The big boys and I are also reading The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. And we love it!

We’ve stuck with the “Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear, Something to read” gift pattern for the kids. The predictability of this has been glorious for all of us.

There’s a real tree up in the living room. Stockings over the fireplace. Constant Craigslist searches for a new puppy (shh…don’t tell the kids). A wreath on the front door. Flashing “headache” lights in the boys’ room. Crafty snowmen. Glitter everywhere. Cookie tins in the pantry. Overall excitement filling this house!

But there’s still quiet (kinda). When we sit around the table. Or gather in the living room. And read about Him. The One who came. The One who died. The One who gives us reason to celebrate. To have traditions like Christmas Adam.

That’s what Christmas is like for us. It’s loud. And expensive. And bright.

But it’s also beautiful.

Because last Christmas was grace. This Christmas will be grace. And that first Christmas…it was definitely grace.

Merry Christmas (and Christmas Adam…and Christmas Eve) from our family to yours!!!